Reading notes, week 6

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See the new layout! There’s a nonfiction section now, expecting that at any time I’ll have a number of books I’m dipping into but will not read from beginning to end in one go like fiction. I won’t tag ongoing nonfiction books, though I will tag currently-reading books (and untag them when they spill over the weekend). It’s becoming second nature to make a new post every Sunday morning while the prosphora bake, and pin it to my mastodon and twitter profiles.

February 8: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Reread, sort of randomly selected from what was on the ereader. Now thinking I should probably have started The Hero and the Crown first (gah prequels published later) but I’m into this now and it turns out very different than I remember. Better, in fact! It miraculously escaped all the “colonial fantasy” and “white savior” tropes.

February 6: A wonderful essay about (drinking) glasses by J.W.F. Werumeus Buning, read aloud by Spouse when we had a friend over. Antidote to our shared anger (at two separate people, incidentally with the same first name, which was confusing; about different things though).

February 5: The Redundant Man Who Was Redundant by Alexandra Erin. DNF because I saw where it was going. Fun buildup but I could have done without the horror element.

February 4: Crucible, All-New Tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey. Official author-approved fanfic, basically. Very mixed bag. I read some of the stories before, either because they’re in a different collection or because I was only reading stories that immediately interested me the first time around (that would explain why I skipped some stories about non-human inhabitants of Valdemar, but not why I skipped the story about the bard).

Pünktchen und Anton by Erich Kästner. Not as much fun as the other two because of sexism, probably “product of its time” but no less annoying for that. Kästner also doesn’t seem to like adult women who aren’t devoted mothers, servants or teachers. And disapproves of peeking at the ending of a book because he thinks it spoils the fun. (I agree with his mother: it’s much better to read a book, especially of suspense, if you don’t need to worry about the ending.) Almost put it aside because the small annoyances were piling up, not the least all the moralising near the end. Definitely hasn’t aged well.

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander, fixing conversion errors as I go. Slightly fewer errors than The Black Cauldron, which was really excruciatingly bad (but I had an easy workflow after a while). I’m a bit fed up with the style, but not with the story, and I intend to finish the series this way.

February 3: The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander. Fixing the text alerts me to a ‘trick’ the author uses in long stretches of dialogue: not only typographical (ending a paragraph without quotes and beginning the next paragraph with quotes, which irks me more and more) but also stylistic, having a character resume and mentioning their name or name-substitute again. (“This,” the annoyed blogger continued, “is what I mean.”) I wouldn’t mind if he did it occasionally but he does it ALL THE TIME.

Little Things, written by someone who liked Carpetbaggers and wanted more Narnia stories too. The author tags it “dystopia” — their idea of dystopia must be very far from mine! It’s hopeful and touching.

The Last Defense of Cair Paravel, Carpetbaggers #3. A tragedy (as you might suspect by the title) but ending on a hopeful note.

The Cave in Deerfield, another Carpetbaggers story. CW: implied off-screen character death and strongly implied TPK.

Carpetbaggers (Narnia fanfic): what happened after the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought I’d read it already but apparently not [ETA: that was the Deerfield story], I would have remembered all the grit! (Not nasty grit, though some of it is painful.) Excellent characterization of the Pevensies, perhaps better than Lewis himself, and some very good new characters. When I was finding the link I noticed that there are two more in the series and downloaded those too.

Earlier reading notes: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5